SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the launch of a third high volume COVID vaccination site at the SF Market in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. The two previous sites that opened are located at the Moscone Center and the City College of San Francisco. The site is a 23-acre campus home to 28 businesses and more than 1,000 employees.

Exterior of the SF Market COVID vaccination site, February 16, 2021.

The City of San Francisco is currently under Phase 1A of the vaccination plan, the following groups are eligible for vaccination under the the CDC’s phased distribution schedule: healthcare workers, in-home care workers, and people aged 65 or older. The 210,000 people of San Francisco included in phase 1A are 80,000-90,000 healthcare workers, 11,000 in-home care workers, and 110,000 people aged 65 are older.

Mayor Breed announced that on February 24, the city will fall under Phase 1B, which includes workers in education, childcare, food, and agriculture.

Located on 901 Rankin Street, the Bayview-Hunters Point vaccination site is in a region that the San Francisco Office of the Mayor claimed had “the highest rate of cases” throughout the pandemic and greatest number of deaths due to COVID.

By appointment only, the Bayview-Hunters Point vaccination site is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vaccination appointments there and at other major San Francisco sites, including the Moscone Center, the City College of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University. Appointments can be made at SF.gov/getvaccinated. San Francisco has also partnered with Sutter Health to vaccinate eligible people at the site, appointments can be made at the Sutter Health website.

On February 17, due to a lack of vaccine supply, appointments were suspended until further notice. When Mayor Breed announced the plan to create a network of vaccination sites with the goal of administering 10,000 vaccinations a day on January 15, she pointed out that infrastructure to administer vaccines at that volume was not an issue, and it was all an issue of supply.

“Supply remains very limited right now, but we’re making sure that we have the infrastructure in place throughout our city, and we’re prepared to vaccinate at least 10,000 people per day once we start receiving more doses,” Breed said.

Breed said in a press conference on February 9, the City of San Francisco has been averaging about 4,000 vaccinations a day. The number of new cases per 100,000 persons dropped from under 45 on January 1 to nearly 15 on February 1. COVID hospitalizations continue to decrease from the peak in mid-January, from about 250 to 150 about a month later.

SF COVID Hospitalizations, February 9, 2021. (San Francisco Department of Public Health)

“Vaccine supply coming to San Francisco continues to be insufficient to vaccinate all eligible populations, but we are working tirelessly to establish a distribution infrastructure that will allow us to swiftly and equitably distribute every dose of the vaccine that we receive,” said San Francisco Health Director Grant Colfax.

The City of San Francisco launched the COVID-19 vaccination data dashboard last month, which is updated daily at 9 a.m. As of February 16, 124,932 people in San Francisco were vaccinated with at least one dose, while 37,378 people received the second dose. The City of San Francisco expects that the vaccine should be available to everyone by the end of 2021.

San Francisco residents can receive the vaccine for free. Dr. Gomez of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, who treats COVID patients, endorsed the vaccine in the light of skepticism over its side-effects. “Masking and social distancing will only take us so far. The vaccine is the way to establish immunity once and for all in the community. The vaccine is effective, it’s safe, and I really urge everyone to take it as soon as it becomes available to them.”

Dr. Gomez at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
(Courtesy of San Francisco Department of Emergency Management)

He said that side-effects last only 24 hours to 36 hours, and he did not say that everyone will even experience those side-effects. Dr. Gomez said he only experienced muscle pain for 20-24 hours after being injected with the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines. “The vaccine is effective, safe, it is again the only really way to protect ourselves and the community, and I urge everyone to take it as soon as it becomes available to them.”

Healthcare providers partnering with the City of San Francisco to distribute and administer vaccines include Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Health, Dignity Health, Sutter Health, California Pacific Medical Center, and the Department of Public Health. Pharmacies at Walgreens, CVS and Safeway are also partnering with the city to distribute vaccines.

In the United States, as of February 17, there are three FDA-approved vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech (launched on December 11, 2020), Moderna (launched on December 18, 2020), and Novarax (launched on December 28, 2020).

According to the Centers of Disease Control COVID Data Tracker, there were 47,107 deaths in the State of California and 486,466 deaths in the United States as of February 17 in the ongoing pandemic.

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As a 24-year old college graduate with a BA in History, and with political interests mainly in international relations in Europe and the Middle East, I hope to use my strengths in modern world history to contribute to news stories covering my main areas of interest. Though the focus of the San Francisco News is local news, there is a newfound dedication to give a voice to community members in need, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The political year known as 2020 has also given the people much to be anxious about, and I hope to give them a voice.